-By Bhawna George
Crystal clear blue waters, white sandy beaches, beautiful lagoons, diverse coral reefs and very friendly people; yes, you can find all these in one place; El Nido and Coron in Phillipines.
Well reaching El Nido took long, about 12 hrs from Manila airport. We took a flight to the Puerto Princessa airport from Manila. From there, after 7-8 hrs of shuttle van ride, we finally reached our destination “Swiftlets Inn”, El Nido in the evening. The staffs there were very friendly. That evening we spent on the El Nido beach (just 5-10 walk from our hotel), watching sunset and listening to live music.
Next day early morning we were served with nice warm breakfast on the balcony. The hotel is family owned and has a very personal atmosphere. Island hopping tour is a must when you are travelling to any island. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life…… We started with Hidden beach (as the beach was covered with water and only a small portion was visible) and witnessed crystal clear blue water and varied brightly coloured corals. Frankly speaking, I hardly know swimming and the first time was jumping into the sea. I was literally scared, but our guide took me around through the corals and fluorescent fishes. I am really thankful to him as I was able to experience the beauty underneath the ocean.
After swimming for a while, we reached a small opening in the cliff, entry to The small lagoon. I didn’t believe I would be able to crawl in, but it wasn’t that difficult. We all were stunned by the calmness and silence of a small water body with warm waters surrounded by cliffs. Well, we got a chance to relax here after the swimming. While snorkelling through tranquil turquoise-green waters of The big lagoon, we saw star fish, blue fishes, sea urchins among many other beautiful things. Lastly, we headed to the Snake island as the shape is in the form of a snake (don’t worry, there are no snakes but beautiful Nemo fishes and starfishes). Evening we chilled out at the El Nido Boutique and Art Café. I strongly recommend their ice-creams….
The next morning we left for Coron. Due to off season, speed boats (5 hrs from El Nido to Coron) were not running, so we had to take boat Jesabel (no other option was available), basically around 8 hrs we were sitting on the boat. Check weather conditions before travelling as sometimes due to bad weather, they can cancel the trips. Take some books along for the long journey. Anyways, it was a different experience with the beautiful sights of small islands on the way.
Evening we reached our hotel, “Discovery island resort and five center”, basically the only human dwelling on that small island. So, boat was the only means of transportation. Coron is famous for diving into a world war II ship wrecks. But I wasn’t daring enough and we were short of time as our flight was next day evening. Therefore, we took a half day tour to beautiful limestone riffs standing on blue or green waters. The tour started with snorkelling around Siete pecados marine park. Then in order to see Kayangan lake on the mountain we hiked little bit. The view of the sea from the height was breathtaking. Twin lagoon was quite pretty, but so deep that we could only see
sun rays going in. That was very scary but thanks to our guide, I survived and managed to take the whole round…. One advice, try to learn swimming or at least build up your confidence in water before going to an island….
We were simply amazed by the beauty of that place, something we had never witnessed before in life.